tv Beyond the Headlines ABC January 15, 2017 4:30pm-5:01pm PST
>> now, from abc 7, "beyond the headlines with cheryl jennings." [ bird call chirping ] welcome to our program, coming to you from the beautiful country of peru. it's a popular tourist destination and home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the ancient city of machu picchu. [ indistinct conversations ] but peru also has desperately poor people who are being helped by americans in the san francisco bay area. that charity is called vida usa, which stands for volunteers for inter-american development assistance. vida usa recently marked 25 years of delivering surplus medical equipment and medicine to impoverished areas in latin america. i was invited to see vida usa's programs, and i traveled to peru with them
to learn firsthand how it is changing lives at the most basic level. i learned about the tremendous support vida usa has from the bay area to peru because of its mission and its beloved co-founder. >> [ speaking spanish ] >> it was a spectacular 25th-anniversary gala, with 900 donors and the cónsul general of peru in san francisco, candy chávez. haydee rodriguez-pastor is the co-founder of vida usa and vida peru. this mother of six lives in the bay area and was born in peru. she inspires people because of the work being done by the nonprofit she started in the east bay with her late husband, carlos. he started a bank in peru, which has been an enthusiastic supporter of vida for years. a deadly illness prompted the birth of the charity.
the infrastructure was already there after the epidemic ended, so haydee and her team built it into a life-saving powerhouse that ships containers full of surplus medical equipment and supplies to peru and helps millions of other people in at least a dozen other latin american and caribbean countries. >> i took care of the peruvian side while haydee was pushing all of the logistics from the united states, which was the most important part. >> the need is enormous. thousands and thousands live in shacks like this without running water or sewage systems. many don't have health insurance, but they can get first-class free or low-cost medical services at hospitals served by vida, like this one in lima. >> everything from a syringe to a bandage to a $10,000
surgical medical kit for open-heart surgery. >> it all starts in emeryville, at vida usa's 6,000-square-foot warehouse. these items could have been thrown into landfill, but businesses and individuals choose to recycle. >> stanford being our biggest donor. we got the kaisers, the ucsfs. >> every item has to be carefully logged and tracked. volunteers like david from businesses or schools help sort the equipment and the supplies. >> i couldn't believe what waste went on. so, the fact that they could take these supplies and put some good use to them was something i thought was very worthwhile. >> durable medical equipment stays good for a long, long time. >> steve dropped off supplies donated to a recycling company called recares. >> and i can't get these back into the community. >> that gently used boot will help this young mother of two at one hospital which is served by vida. >> [ speaking spanish ]
>> the main burn unit in lima is at this old hospital. men and women are in the same room. they're grateful for vida's help, but the need never ends. >> we really appreciate when people from other countries, especially the united states and especially from san francisco, are taking care of our people here in peru. we really feel the warmth of the people when they do that with their hearts. ♪ >> coming up later, you'll learn more about the incredible financial commitment by vida usa to get tons of surplus medical supplies and equipment from the bay area to peru. >> doing 60 shipments a year, the cost really escalated. so, you have to raise funds for that. >> were you absorbing that yourself in the beginning? >> yes. ♪ >> when we come back,
we'll take you to see some of the incredible sights in peru that tourists want to see, including one of the seven wonders of the world. this gentleman is about to get a shot for hepatitis b. it's provided free of charge. and we'll show you some of the many ways vida usa is changing the lives of those who need and deserve hope for a better future. >> [ speaking spanish ] and you'll also see some of the searing poverty that tourists will never see.
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this searing poverty is in a country that is better known for its stunning beauty. let me take you on a tour. [ chimes clinking ] just hearing the name of the country peru makes many people think of its rich history, and it's the location of one of the seven wonders of the world. this is what people think of when they think of peru, the beautiful machu picchu area, and it is absolutely spectacular to be here in person. tourists can see traditional methods of cleaning and dyeing wool from llamas or alpacas out in the country. [ flute playing ] they can enjoy authentic peruvian music, or in the big city of lima, capital of peru, visitors can see museums with incredible artifacts. [ marching music playing ] or they can try and get close to the metal gates of the presidential palace and watch the changing of the guard. visitors could head out to the well-maintained zoo and see the big cats or other critters that come out to play. there are so many
interesting sites to make tourists grab their cameras. but then there is a sobering reality that locals and visitors will never see. this is pamplona alta. 40,000 people live in shacks on the mountain. dirt roads, no running water, no indoor toilets, no sewage system. kids play with broken toys in contaminated dirt. [ truck beeping ] water trucks come in several times a week and sell it to those who can afford it. it's stored in unsanitary conditions. it's a harsh life, but pamplona residents are getting help that can transform their lives, thanks to a bay area organization called vida usa. and they're gonna be giving this gentleman a shot for hepatitis b, and the shot is gonna be free of charge. this is a free health clinic coordinated between vida and the government's ministry of health.
>> what vida does is we bring all the supplies and equipment they need on an ongoing basis. >> ramon alzamora is a vida board member. he says peru has a policy of social inclusion and a long-term poverty-reduction plan. education will make the difference, but children need vaccinations to get an i.d. to enroll in school, so vida and the health ministry provide these clinics on a regular basis. vida usa collects supplies from bay area hospitals and other facilities at its warehouse in emeryville, california. >> this is surplus supplies that they're clearing out their inventory. >> then vida ships containers to its warehouse in lima and distributes those supplies
to more than 80 hospitals, clinics, and organizations. haydee rodriguez pastor co-founded vida with her late husband, carlos, 25 years ago. they're both from peru, but came to live in the bay area. they saw a desperate need to help the poor in peru. her choice to focus on vida usa's critical work is saving lives and creating futures, and vida will continue bringing quality healthcare for entire families thanks to its own family of donors and volunteers. hundreds of volunteers help vida usa sort equipment at its emeryville warehouse, and they love it. >> my aunt told me about this, and i thought it was like a really good thing to do, so i wanted to help out. >> helping other countries
that have nothing, especially when you think about individual families -- i think that is wonderful. so, thank you. >> when we come back, we'll take you to a place that's like the ronald mcdonald house in lima, peru. you'll meet carmen cortez, the woman who created a home away from home for families living with a medical crisis. >> he was born with a bad deformation. >> a deformed hand? >> yeah. >> and later on, you'll meet a man rescuing children who are literally thrown away or even attacked just because they were born with disabilities. what is her name? >> lucia. >> lucia. and lucia's father tried to kill her? >> yeah, he tried to kill her, but she's already healed.
♪ >> welcome back to our program on vida usa, a bay area nonprofit helping millions of people in some of the poorest countries in the world. it ships surplus medical supplies and medicine overseas. those are supplies that would have ended up in our landfills. the co-founder of vida was born in peru and lives in the bay area. the charity is based in emeryville and is marking 25 years of service. vida usa invited me to travel with them to see where those supplies are going -- to hospitals and programs helping families with disabled children.
>> [ speaking spanish ] >> carmen cortez founded peru niñez in lima to help families with disabled children or mothers who need surgery and don't have anybody to care for their children. it's sort of like a ronald mcdonald house, designed to keep families together during a medical crisis. peru niñez is the only place of its kind in all of lima, which has a population of nearly 10 million. peru niñez can only serve about 22 people right now. it's expanding because the need is so great. it helps support itself by selling food on the streets. carmen's commitment and passion for serving these families inspired a bay area charity called vida usa to help her. she lets vida know what she needs, and they help in many ways, such as providing state-of-the-art whirlpool baths
to help with physical therapy for people like this young man. he can barely walk because of a medical condition, so he can't work. vida's executive director in peru, olga baca, helped arrange transportation to get up to peru niñez in a vida truck so he can get therapy and get his life back. ♪ adam see is the executive director of vida usa, which is based in emeryville, california. >> everything has never been used, with the exception of the equipment. the equipment is lightly used. if it's broken, we don't use it. >> vida collects surplus medical equipment and supplies that would have been thrown away. major donors include stanford and kaiser. >> they don't want it to go in the landfill, so they have big green initiatives. they're counting how much tonnage do they -- that they're not sending to the landfill. >> vida usa volunteers sort and catalog thousands of donated items, which are then shipped to lima
in containers. >> we shipped 60 40-foot containers last year. a 40-foot container costs us about $12,000 door to door. for $12,000 we're shipping a container that carrying $700,000. >> haydee rodriguez-pastor co-founded vida usa 25 years ago with her late husband, carlos. she lives in the bay area, was born in peru, and has a huge humanitarian heart. vida usa works with partnerships that not only offer help and health, but also dignity and a sense of family for programs like peru niñez.
>> [ speaking spanish ] >> several peru niñez supporters showed up while we were visiting to drop off baby supplies for the families. they were excited to explain why they love this program. >> this is really close to my heart because my best friend is from here, so we just love to help the children. and i'm glad that we see the kids here, and we're just blessed to help in any way. >> i'm tessie cabrera. i'm from the amazon here in peru, but i live in alabama. my husband is retired military, so i travel all over the world. but my heart is here, so i had to help my people. >> what do we have here? >> clothes, different sizes for the children, some winter clothes, diapers, special milk.
♪ [ laughter ] >> in just a moment, you're going to meet a man some say is quite the hero, but he humbly says it is his calling -- rescuing children who are literally thrown away by their parents just because the children were born with disabilities. >> what is her name? >> lucia. >> lucia. and lucia's father tried to kill her? >> yeah. he tried to kill her. she has a cut here in the belly, but she's already healed. [ indistinct conversations ] ♪ >> and later on in our program, the creative partnership between vida usa and emeryville and global trading company otis mcallister in oakland. >> as peru gives us from their bounty the riches of their agriculture, their products like quinoa, what can we offer them? and one thing we can offer is surplus medical equipment. >> we'll be right back with more on vida usa.
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♪ >> we're continuing our look at vida usa, a bay area charity based in emeryville, which is helping millions of people with critical health needs in more than a dozen latin american countries. vida usa invited us to see some of their programs in lima, peru. we're going to take you to several hospitals and clinics that get regular shipments of medical equipment and supplies from vida usa. we also visited an orphanage, which rescues children who are literally thrown away because they were born with disabilities and the families were too poor to care for them. >> when you have a house with 97 boys and girls, you always need medical supplies, always. >> omar sanchez is in charge of a parish with an orphanage that cares for children and adults who have been left on the streets of peru because they have severe disabilities. >> we care for kids and older people
who are abandoned. they are mentally disabled, down syndrome, autism, psychiatric problems, and when they have terminal illnesses, too. >> this little girl has down syndrome. and what is her name? >> lucia. >> lucia. and lucia's father tried to kill her? >> yeah, he tried to kill her, but she's already healed. and she's receiving a lot of love and hugs and kisses. [ smooching ] >> vida usa invited us to peru to see a few of the nearly 100 facilities it's helping. vida is based in emeryville, california, and collects surplus medical equipment and supplies from bay area hospitals, including stanford and kaiser. then, vida ships the products to their chapter in lima for distribution. >> we asked them for help, and they offered us help very, very fast, very, very easy, and very, very important for us. >> my parish in santa maria, where i live, and the kids come once a month to sort and help organize the boxes.
>> they're taken to containers at the port of oakland and turned over to a big vida supporter, otis mcallister. it's a global trading company and major importer of quinoa from farmers living in the peruvian andes. >> people live in very humble circumstances, and there's a real need for modern medical equipment there. >> otis mcallister donated 18 container shipments to vida usa, carrying more than $15 million in aid in 2015. their humanitarian decision made good business sense. >> we offload the medical equipment in lima, and then from there it's put on trucks that wind their way up through the mountains, and when they arrive, they distribute those products. and then we, in turn, load those trucks with quinoa. >> this is a very exciting day for the hospital, it's in one of the poorest areas of lima, and all of the vida supplies that came from emeryville are right here being delivered at this moment. the need is enormous. there are a million people
in this district in lima. >> [ speaking spanish ] >> haydee rodriguez-pastor co-founded vida usa 25 years ago with her late husband, carlos, to bring quality healthcare to impoverished people in peru and other latin american countries. haydee's friend started a hospital in a garage in lima 11 years ago, and vida helped it expand into a new facility. vida supplies anything the hospital needs. did you just get asked for more beds? >> more beds, 12 beds, 12 gurneys. ♪ >> they help us a lot because one of our biggest expenses is
in medical supplies. so, when we receive that, we have a big breath to say thank you. >> [ speaking spanish ] >> vida's long-term commitment creates the opportunity for children like these at the orphanage to live out their fragile lives in comfort, surrounded by a big circle of love. you can learn more about vida usa's partnership with otis mcallister at otismac.com. vida usa is always looking for volunteers to help sort supplies and equipment at their warehouse in emeryville. >> one thing we think is -- i think is really cool, is that you need almost no training to be able to just come here and be productive. and they always need help. >> we can turn this around in about 3 months, so that means by the time we get it in, process it, inventory it, book a shipment, get it on the boat, then three to four weeks down there, a week or two in customs. then it goes to our warehouse in lima. from there, then, it's sent all over the country.
>> vida usa is also looking for more sponsors for the big containers, which are shipped overseas. vida usa wants to do more to help, and can do that with your help. thanks for joining us on our special program on vida usa. you can find them at vidausa.org. for more information about today's show and resources where you live, just go to our website, abc7news.com/community. we're also on facebook at abc7 community affairs. and follow me on twitter -- @cherylabc7.
>> announcer: live where you live, this is abc 7 news. their plan is to make america sick again. rallies like this held nationwide today, including right here in the bay area. in the battle to protect the affordable care act. hello, i'm eric thomas. thanks for joining us. supporters of the affordable care act held rallies in two bay area cities. let's get live to leslie at city hall. she has both sides of the